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‘Sveinn Einn Ungr Fell Í Sýruker’: Medieval icelandic children in vernacular miracle stories

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Chapter Summary

Sagas about the Icelandic holy bishops and miracle books provide examples which contribute to the image of Icelandic children and the portrayal of society's attitude towards them from a perspective different from that known from contemporary sagas or Icelandic family sagas. This chapter examines the cases listed in the sagas and miracle books concerning the three Icelandic holy bishops: Jón Ögmundarson (1052–1121), Þorlákr Þórhallsson (1133–1193) and Guðmundr Arason (1161–1237). Þorlákr was the bishop of the southern diocese of Skálholt in the years 1178–93. It discusses the portrayal of the saintly interference in everyday lives of medieval Icelandic children and their families as depicted in the miracle stories. The chapter focuses on children who could move around the household on their own and were not entirely dependent on adults.

Keywords: Icelandic holy bishops; miracle stories



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